Family Dentistry Durham, NC

Dr. Chavala Harris is a family dentist in Durham, NC, who helps patients of all ages receive professional dental care. She works with parents and their children to find the best treatment methods possible. Understanding the needs of each patient, regardless of age, can make it easier for patients to visit the dentist on regular patients.

Dr. Harris also helps adults and children with dental fear or anxiety. She understands it may be difficult for some patients to feel comfortable at the dentist. Her goal is to create a friendly environment where patients of all ages feel comfortable receiving care.

Family Dentist in Durham, North Carolina

Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Family dentistry is a general dental treatment because it helps prevent oral health problems down the road. A key aspect of preventative care is routine visits. During your child’s first visit to our office, we will provide:

  • Dental cleaning
  • Diagnostic x-rays and tooth charting
  • Cavity Screening
  • Fluoride treatment
  • Gum and TMJ evaluation

Routine dental visits allow our team to keep track of any changes in your child’s oral health. These visits also help us establish a relationship with you and your child so we can better understand your concerns and oral health needs. We recommend that parents schedule their child’s first dental visit after their first tooth emerges.

Our team may also recommend dental sealants to cover the teeth and reduce the risk of gum disease, cavities, and tooth decay. Sealants are thin resin coatings that can protect the teeth from bacteria, plaque, and food particles for multiple years. We recommend dental sealants for children from the ages of 5 to 7.

Children are more prone to cavities, so it is important that they receive protective and preventative care.

Caring for Baby Teeth

Primary or baby teeth are placeholders for permanent teeth and are essential to the future development and health of the smile. Taking care of baby teeth can also support speech development. You can clean your child’s mouth even before their first tooth emerges.

Clean their gums with a wet washcloth to wipe off food particles from the gums. Cleaning the gums removes harmful bacteria that can lead to gum disease and eventual tooth decay. When your child’s first tooth does emerge, use an infant toothbrush to gently brush their teeth.

Adult Dental Treatments

Our cosmetic and restorative treatments benefit more mature patients. Dental bridges, dentures, veneers, crowns, and bonding are some of the most common treatments that help patients revitalize their smiles. Cosmetic dentures and bridges can be used to restore one or more missing teeth.

Porcelain veneers, tooth crowns, and dental bonding address weakened, damaged, and discolored teeth.


What takes place during a dental cleaning?

During a dental cleaning, your dental hygienist or dentist will use special instruments to remove plaque and tartar buildup from the surfaces of your teeth. The dental hygienist or dentist will also use special toothpaste and a toothbrush or a rotary instrument to polish your teeth.

They will also floss between each tooth to ensure all areas are clean. The dental hygienist or dentist will examine your mouth again to ensure that the plaque and tartar are gone. Lastly, your dentist or hygienist will provide you with oral hygiene instructions and additional treatment, such as fluoride or dental sealants, to help prevent future dental problems.

How long does it take to remove tartar during a dental cleaning?

The amount of time it takes to remove tartar during a dental cleaning depends on the severity and thickness of the buildup. It typically takes a dental hygienist 30-60 minutes to perform routine dental cleanings, including removing tartar buildup from teeth.

When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?

You should begin cleaning your baby’s teeth as soon as their first tooth appears, usually around the age of six months. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, parents should begin brushing a baby’s teeth twice daily (morning and night) with a soft cloth or finger brush and water. Additionally, you should start regular dental visits for your baby at the age of one. Doing so will help prevent early childhood cavities or identify potential health issues in your child’s mouth.

What does the fluoride treatment do?

Fluoride treatment is preventive dental care that helps strengthen tooth enamel and prevent the formation of tooth decay and cavities. The treatment involves applying a topical fluoride solution or foam directly to teeth using special tools. Fluoride works by hardening and protecting the enamel from decay, making it more resistant to acid attacks from plaque bacteria and sugars in the mouth. In addition, fluoride can assist with reversing early signs of tooth decay or cavities before they become a more serious issue.

How does a dentist evaluate for TMJ?

A dentist can evaluate for TMJ (temporomandibular joint) by obtaining a medical history and performing a physical examination. The exam typically includes an evaluation of the jaw joints and mouth muscles, as well as palpation, range-of-motion tests, imaging studies such as X-rays or CT scans to check for any structural damage, and the use of bite analysis tools to measure the position of your upper and lower teeth in relation to each other. Depending on patient needs, the dentist may also recommend stress tests or blood work.

What is the most common dental problem in adults?

The most common dental problem in adults is tooth decay. Tooth decay comes from plaque buildup and a lack of proper oral hygiene. Other common dental problems in adults include gum disease, which occurs when bacteria accumulate below the gum line and cause inflammation, as well as periodontal or advanced gum disease if left untreated.

Schedule A Teeth Whitening Consultation

Are you looking for a family dentist near you in Durham? Call Oak Grove Family and Cosmetic Dentistry today at 919-899-4467 or schedule a dental consultation with Dr. Chavala Harris online. Do you have any more questions about our practice? Call us or let us know at your next appointment. Our dental office serves patients from Durham and Oak Grove, North Carolina.